It’s almost five years since Chelsea overcame Bayern Munich in the Champions League final and became the last English club to reach the final of UEFA’s showpiece tournament. By and large, English clubs have disappointed and it’s now left to Manchester United in the Europa League to see if some pride can be restored.
The Premier League’s line-up in the Champions League this season of Leicester City, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur struggled to make the step up and compete at the very highest level. All teams managed to make it out of the group stages and Leicester City, maybe surprisingly, went furthest, but they will all look back on this campaign as a failure.
Leicester City were drawn in a reasonably easy group and after losing 2-1 away to Sevilla, they cruised to a 2-0 home win with goals from Marc Albrighton and Wes Brown rewarding them with a place in the quarter-final and a match against Atletico Madrid. After losing 1-0 in the Estadio Vicente Calderon to an Antoine Griezmann goal, they were left with a mountain to climb when Saul Niguez opened the scoring in Leicester. That goal left them needing 3 goals to progress, and any team in the world would struggle to score 3 against one of the most accomplished defences in the world. Jamie Vardy managed to pull one back, but they crashed out 2-1 on aggregate and will miss out on Champions League football for the foreseeable future.
Arsenal were humiliated in the last 16, losing 10 goals and replying with just 2 to a Bayern Munich side who were at the centre of some controversial decisions this week as they lost to Real Madrid. The Gunners still seem shell-shocked by that result and their league form has been shocking lately and unless their form picks up real soon, they won’t qualify for the Champions League and needn’t worry about their last 16 exit next season.
Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur should have another chance next season, however, they will be looking for vastly improved performances that seen them eliminated from the competition. Manchester City were eliminated by Monaco, who have raised a few eyebrows with their semi-final appearance after knocking out Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur failed to qualify from a group containing Monaco, Bayer Leverkusen and CSKA Moscow.
Manchester United are the only English club left in European competition and if they can go all the way in the Europa League, they will automatically qualify for the Champions League, giving the Premier League one extra place. However, judging by performances this season by their counterparts, it may not be welcomed with open arms.
Try your managerial skills at fantasy football at www.eurofantasyleague.com
Manage your favourite Premier League players at www.fantasy-premier.com